Pakistan will face England in the final of the 2022 T20 World Cup at the picturesque Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 13, after the Jos Buttler-led side thrashed a formidable India by 10 wickets in the second semi-final on Thursday.
If anyone would have said a week ago that India won’t be playing the title match, people would’ve doubted their sanity. And if someone would’ve bet on Pakistan to make it to the final, he would’ve been considered mad, to say the least.
But all of it did happen. Many think that Pakistan have raised the spirit of the 1992 ODI World Cup for their miraculous run to the marquee – the final of the T20 World Cup. In 1992, Pakistan defeated England in the final at the MCG by 22 runs in their first-ever World Cup trophy.
There are many eerie similarities between Pakistan’s campaign in this year’s T20 World Cup and the run of the 1992 team under the then captain Imran Khan. England qualifying for the final on Thursday makes it the biggest similarity.
The 1992 tournament was played Down Under with both Australia and New Zealand playing co-hosts. However, this time around Australia is the sole host of the event.
Pakistan lost by a small margin to India on October 23 this year in the group stage, and the same had happened in the 1992 event when the Men in Green were defeated by Men in Blue.
Pakistan defeated New Zealand in the semi-finals on Wednesday, and surprisingly it were the same Kiwis that Pakistan downed in Sydney in 1992 to make it to the ODI World Cup final. The last and the most important similarity is not the event, but a venue, which has seen miracles unfolding for Pakistan – the Adelaide Oval.
Luckily, Pakistan’s fate at this year’s World Cup was also decided at the same venue. Netherlands upset South Africa in Adelaide to pave the way for Pakistan to qualify for the semi-finals and Babar Azam and Co beat Bangladesh later on the same ground to end the Super 12 stage in the top two.
Pakistan were nearly kicked out of the 1992 tournament after being packed for a paltry 74 against England, however, rain came to Imran and Co’s rescue to give them an all-important point.
It would have been a blockbuster final if Pakistan had played India on Sunday at the MCG with a full-house guaranteed. However, a Pakistan-England final won’t be much less of a contest.
Both teams have peaked late in the tournament, after stumbling initially, which has set up a nail-biting clash between two of the best T20 sides in the world.
Whoever wins will be showered in glory, but the tournament will long be remembered for the exciting brand of cricket that all teams played, both the favourites and the minnows.